Home & Property Improvements
Living in and loving a Shaker home can be a major undertaking.
To make the effort worthwhile and the result magnificent, take advantage of Shaker's City Services. Information on historic preservation of an older home is available on the Planning Department's Housing Preservation page and in Community Links under Historic Preservation. Qualified rehabbers can receive special incentives through the Shaker Renovator Program.
So, you're planning an improvement project for your home. What do you do first?
First, find out whether the project is something you can tackle yourself. The Resource Center, located at City Hall, 3400 Lee Road, is a good place to start your research. You may also wish to take a look at the Homeowners Guide to Maintenance.
Once you've determined whether you want to do the work yourself or hire a professional, you may want to find out what sort of financial help is available to you. The City has a number of financial incentive programs you will want to learn about.
Download the Property Improvement Resources brochure for a summary of assistance programs or the Housing Assistance Programs Chart for a brief overview. For more information about the city's programs, contact Housing Programs Specialist Sharra Thomas at 216-491-1434.
If you decide to hire a contractor, you will want one who is registered with the City. Lists of registered contractors are updated regularly. The City cannot recommend contractors for you, but always suggests that you:
- Check references
- Look at prior work
- Get at least three bids
We are happy to help you develop a scope of work. Call 216-491-1434 to talk to a housing programs specialist.
The Heritage Home Program can also assist homeowners by locating reliable home repair contractors. Visit the Preservation Toolbox for a guide to hiring and working with contractors, as well as a checklist of questions to ask.
To identify other local contractors, contact the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The next important question to ask is: Will this project require a permit?
There isn't always a simple answer to this question. Because certain repairs may or may not require a permit, it's best to check with the Building Department, 216-491-1460. In general, if the project involves adding or changing something to your home that might be subject to building code review, it will need a permit. Certain common household projects do not require a permit.
Architectural review may be needed and approval granted for exterior projects even when no permit is required. To determine whether review by the Architectural Board is required, see the guide to common residential permits and required approvals or contact the Planning Department, 216-491-1430.
Buildings that are located in an historic district or that have been designated local landmarks will require review by the Landmark Commission. Contact the Planning Department for additional information, 216-491-1436.
To make sure the project is performed to the State's building codes, licensed building officials will inspect the permit work. This enforcement ensures that the work meets Shaker's standards for safety and quality.
Zoning and Permitting Process
The Planning Department (216-491-1430) and Building Department (216-491-1460) will help as you prepare to build-out your new space, renovate your existing space, start new construction, arrange signage and make other capital investments. Economic Development Department staff (216-491-1334) can also assist you with these processes by ensuring that you contact the appropriate department at the right time.